It’s been three months since our last travel. Hubby and I were both itching to travel again to break the monotony of our daily routines. Staycation would be fine unfortunately we live in a small industrial city on the Western side of Saudi Arabia, where there are only few things to do, less action, limited options for shopping, and no fancy restaurants (except in the hotels which we’ve been to many times). It’s not that we are complaining about how boring our lives here… because the place itself is beautiful. Everything are well provided. Safety and comfort are not an issue. It’s just that our thirst to see different places urges us to get away. That is why vacation is always a thing to look forward to quench such thirst. So we are grateful for the winter breaks. Because we can travel again.
Thankfully we had enough miles to get a free flights to Riyadh. Using my IHG points we only added a minimal charge to enjoy a luxury accommodation. Everything was in favor to us.
We left Yanbu airport at around 3:00 pm and we arrived in Riyadh 5:00 pm. Basically the flight was approximately 2 hours. During the whole flight all you see outside the window are the sand dunes. The picture above showed how Arabian desert looks like.
The Limo Service
We took a London Taxi service from the Riyadh airport to our hotel. Yes Riyadh has London Taxi service just like the taxi’s in London. We got to experience riding London taxi even if we’re not in London. How cool is that! It really feels good to experience things out of the ordinary.
We stayed at Holiday Inn Al Qasr which is conveniently located at the heart of shopping district of Riyadh.
Our hotel is just 2 blocks away from the park and Al Faisaliyah Mall. After we settled in our room we wasted no time to explore what’s nearby. We were actually looking for a Chinese restaurant for dinner however the one we saw near the hotel was closed for renovation. Instead, we went to Al Faysaliyah Mall and we found this french restaurant named PAUL. The Parisian alfresco setting gave us the vibes as if we were back in Paris, however inside the Mall. Hahaha at least it was something different.
So this is what we call French dinner. PAUL’s in Al Faysaliyah Mall has a few choices in their menu. That’s the downside though. It’s more like a cafe than restaurant. We ordered Gratin de poulet et Champignons and Crepe au poulet.
Visiting the Al Masmak Fortress
The next day, our itinerary was to explore the historical side of Saudi’s capital. So we woke up early and enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the hotel. We stuffed ourselves with much needed vitamins C, because we don’t want to catch colds during this winter season.
The reason why we returned to Riyadh because we didn’t get the chance to visit Al Masmak Fortress when we were there last year. And finally we made it this time.
The name ‘Masmak’ means strong and fortified in Arabic. It represent as the turning point with the effort of King Abdulaziz to unify the country.
The fortress was built in 1865 A.D. during the reign of Imam Abdullah bin Faysal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud.
We spent most of our time relaxing and enjoying the comforts of our hotel. Of course our trip to Riyadh isn’t complete without shopping, so we did bought some memorable stuff and some presents for our friends back in Yanbu.
As much as we wanted to stay longer, we have to go back home to finish some important errands before the winter break will be over. We were happy to squeeze this trip and enjoy our (hubby and wifey) time together without distractions from work.